Factors associated with social casino gaming among adolescents across game types

Livia Veselka, Rochelle Wijesingha, Scott T Leatherdale, Nigel E Turner, Tara Elton-Marshall
BMC Public Health 2018 October 11, 18 (1): 1167

BACKGROUND: With the proliferation of social casino games (SCGs) online, which offer the opportunity to gamble without monetary gains and losses, comes a growing concern regarding the effects of these unregulated games on public health, particularly among adolescents. However, given the limited research pertaining to SCG use, little is currently known about the manner in which adolescents engage with this new gambling medium. The present study aims to identify the factors that characterize adolescent social casino gamers, and to determine whether these factors differ by SCG type. Moreover, the study examines the extent to which social casino gaming is associated with monetary gambling and problem gambling in this cohort.

METHOD: Data were obtained from students in Grades 9 to 12 (nā€‰=ā€‰10,035) residing in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Participants completed the Youth Gambling Survey (YGS), which is a supplementary instrument administered alongside the Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CSTADS). Logistic regression was used to assess the factors associated with SCG play.

RESULTS: Overall, 12.4% of respondents reported having participated in SCGs in the past three months. Compared to adolescents who did not report playing SCGs, SCG players were typically more likely to participate in monetary gambling activities, and were more prevalently classified as problem gamblers of low-to-moderate severity or high severity. Although profiles of SCG players differed across SCG game types, factors significantly associated with the playing of SCGs were gender, weekly spending money, having friends and parents who gamble, and screen time. It was also shown that current smokers were significantly more likely to participate in simulated slots online relative to adolescents who did not play SCGs.

CONCLUSION: Significant associations exist between SCG play, monetary gambling, and problem gambling among adolescents. Gambling intervention efforts directed at this population should aim to identify personal and environmental factors associated with social casino gaming, and should be tailored to different types of SCGs.

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